Is Industrial Hemp Legal in the US?

This article provides information on industrial hemp production plans, sampling and testing procedures, licensing requirements and more. Learn more about industrial hemp legality in the US.

Is Industrial Hemp Legal in the US?

The US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has outlined how states and tribes can submit plans that enable farmers to cultivate hemp in their areas. This article will provide information on hemp production plans, sampling and testing procedures, the removal of plants that do not meet the necessary criteria, and licensing requirements. One of the main concerns for farmers was the potential for a hemp crop to exceed the 0.3% THC threshold. Additionally, Section 7501 of the Farm Act expands hemp research to include hemp under the Critical Agricultural Materials Act.

The Farm Bill does not restrict the sale of hemp-derived products as long as they are produced in accordance with all applicable laws. A common misconception about the Farm Bill is that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis, is legalized. While there are regulations that strictly control hemp, and law enforcement agencies fear, with or without cause, that cannabis plants used to obtain marijuana will be mixed with hemp plants, this legislation makes hemp a conventional crop. This will be a highly regulated crop in the United States for both personal and industrial production. In addition, farmers must have a contract for the purchase of hemp before they can purchase insurance.

However, the new Farm Bill does not create an entirely free system in which individuals or companies can grow hemp whenever and wherever they want. Although industrial hemp is derived from the same species of Cannabis sativa as marijuana plants, industrial hemp has lower concentrations of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), reducing psychoactive effects. The Agricultural Act guarantees that any cannabinoid, a group of chemical compounds found in cannabis plants and derived from hemp, is legal as long as that hemp is produced in accordance with the Agricultural Act, associated federal regulations, state regulations of associations and by an authorized producer. Even CBD products produced by state cannabis programs for legal, medical, or adult use are illegal products under federal law, both within states and across state lines. However, the reported figures provide a general idea of where in the country hemp is grown and at least provide a lower baseline limit to start with (Figure).

Industrial hemp has caused investors and executives to become excited due to the potential multi-billion dollar market for cannabidiol or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound that has begun to appear in beverages, health products and snacks for pets, among other products. The standard states that a producer does not commit a negligent offence if he produces plants that exceed the acceptable level of THC in hemp, as long as he makes a reasonable effort to cultivate the plant and does not present a THC test greater than 0.5% by dry weight. Furthermore, fortunately, regulations do not make it difficult to obtain reliable agricultural labor and reaffirm that states that have not legalized hemp cannot interfere with interstate transportation of the crop.